As they seek new foods because climate change has altered their traditional diet of salmon carcasses, bald eagles in northwestern Washington state have become a boon to dairy farmers, deterring pests and removing animal carcasses from their farms, a new study finds.
The mutually beneficial relationship is described in “A Win-Win Between Farmers and an Apex Predator: Investigating the Relationship Between Bald Eagles and Dairy Farms,” which published March 10 in the journal Ecosphere.
“The narrative around birds of prey and farmers has traditionally been negative and combative, mainly due to claims of livestock predation,” said lead author Ethan Duvall, a doctoral student in the ecology and evolutionary biology. “However, dairy farmers in northwestern Washington do not consider the eagles threats. In fact, many farmers appreciate the services that the eagles provide such as carcass removal and pest-deterrence.”